Monday, March 5, 2012

mum's stuff

I got back from a quick trip to California a few days ago.  Both sisters were there.  It was a whirlwind trip, time to see each other briefly and go through some of mum's stuff before she gets rid of everything and moves in with Vix.  The moving in was a mutual decision, easier on mum, who is on oxygen 24 hours a day now, and more convenient on Vix who is not able to keep two households running by herself.

Many grown children meet resistance from parents when the time comes that they can no longer manage on their own.  I have to say I thought my mum would be one of the "oh hell no I'm not leaving my home" type of parents.  She has proven to be cooperative, and not attached to any of her "stuff" except for a few small items.  This has been quite a surprise for me.  And I am grateful that it has been an easy transition so far.

We actually had a good time sorting through mum's things, and a lot of laughs at the stuff she had collected over the years.  She had a few magazines with some really unique decorating tips, and I saved them.
Save the foil from the turkey, and create art with it!
Vienna Sausage and Velveeta cheese, magic on a Rye Krisp!
Ok, Martha Stewart and Julia Child it isn't.  It surprised me that someone got paid to think these ideas up.  Life was so much simpler when you could decorate with crumpled aluminum foil and serve Vienna sausage on a cracker as an appetizer. 

There was a plate no one seemed to want, although mum insisted that Vix had said she wanted it.  It's kind of pretty.  One of those things that no one remembers anything about.  It just appeared magically sometime in the distant past and planted itself in mum's stuff.
Mum had also collected a folder of things from school days for Dooj and me, and I had a linoleum block print that I had made in crafts class in high school.
I answered this 3 kids and 41 years ago.
I left two plastic bins of stuff that will require a road trip to get next fall.  My collection includes books I read when I was a child, a creamer and sugar set that was my great grandmother's, some shot glasses from mum's shot glass collection, a Fostoria crystal plate and candelabra set, a shot server that looked like an old time water pump (you pump it and it serves one shot at a time), and assorted other stuff.  Nothing worth a lot of money, and I tried to keep it to a minimum.  Most of the stuff I chose will be given to my kids immediately.  

I brought home a couple things with me.  A paperwork sorter that mum used at work for years, and the first racy novel I almost didn't get to read (I had to convince Grammy to let me read it).
Sort-All and Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor (pub 1944)
Forever Amber was the raciest novel I read as a teenager.  I actually read it when I was about 14 and loved it.  The novel was set in 1644 and was very descriptive, about the plague especially.  When I saw the book, I told mum that was MY book and it was going home with me.  The mystery was how she ended up with it.  I had read it at Grammy's, and don't remember bringing it home with me.  Also a mystery was why mum kept it.  She kept very few books.  It's a mystery.

As we went through mum's stuff I thought about what we all keep, and why we keep it.  And wondered how much stuff is buried in my closets.  My sisters and I laughed as we sorted, remembering some of it, and having fun trying to decide whether to keep it or Goodwill it.  Most went to the Goodwill.  The Cosmopolitan magazine centerfolds of Jim Brown and Burt Reynolds went in the garbage.  (Sorry Burt, you never were my cup of tea.)  My sisters and I are all of an age now that makes us shy away from collecting too much stuff.  A few things for sentimental reasons, and that was about it.  At our age we don't want to add to much to the pile of stuff we already have.

My stuff will get sorted through soon.  Mum was a neat person, and I am not.  I don't want my kids talking about what a pack rat I am.  I'd rather keep the laughs to myself.  


  1. Loved it, and yes if neither of you girls wanted that plate, I do, lol.. Don't forget each of us has to make a foil ornament this year and decorate with it! :-O

  2. Nice blog. You might like this poem about mothers.

  3. We've been sorting through my grandmothers stuff some with her recently and she was asking herself the same question. "Why am I keeping some of this stuff? Nobody is going to want it when I'm gone" I told her it doesn't matter because she isn't gone yet and to let us worry about it when the time comes. If she enjoyed just knowing she has it while she is alive I figure that's what matters.

  4. I so enjoyed our time together with Mum and my sisters: the laughs and respect we have for each other as sisters to make sure that the right people inherit the right things. I will always treasure the moments I had with both of my sisters going through Mum's stuff. I have decided that I want my children to go through my things while I am alive so I can experience the event as Mum did. So rich, so blessed...

  5. Geez Cath, I'm sure I've said it before but you have such a lovely family. That's all.